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January 22, 2008

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Lotus Engineering & KACST Cooperate to Establish Technology Base for the Automotive Industry in Saudi Arabia

Lotus, via its engineering division, has entered into a joint cooperation programme with KACST, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology with the intention to promote the establishment of an ecologically driven automotive technology capability in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Lotus, with support from its parent company PROTON, has been commissioned to assist with the long term strategy of KACST to create an automotive research, development and test centre to support the manufacturing infrastructure within the Kingdom to help build its industrial capabilities and potentially utilise its vast natural resources. Lotus has already been involved in the first stage of this objective with the installation of a new engine and test cell facility in the Kingdom. This programme, which started in 2006, was commissioned with Lotus Engineering and uses the highly sophisticated Lotus Optical Research Engine.

His Excellency President Dr Mohammed Al Suwaiyel said, “The comprehensive strategy of KACST is to achieve automotive design, development and testing capability for Saudi Arabia within a ten-year period, commencing in 2008. A newly established team of highly skilled automotive engineers from KACST, Lotus and PROTON will also enable the partners to develop a technology base for the automotive industry in Saudi Arabia.”

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc said, “Lotus and PROTON are committed to assisting KACST in achieving its objectives. The engine and test cell programme was the start of a successful relationship and the conclusion of this joint cooperative study will drive the total automotive industry strategy for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

PROTON Managing Director, Dato’ Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the combined wealth of experience that Lotus and PROTON have will be beneficial for Saudi Arabia to develop its automotive development and manufacturing capability. Arabia will have access to a greater depth of knowledge for the launch of its automotive industry,” he added.

Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud, The Vice President for Research Institutes at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology said, “Lotus Engineering will take a lead role in the partnership supported by PROTON with continued expertise throughout the project. Lotus is a world leader in automotive technology and has extensive experience in engineering, manufacturing and testing facilities globally including many of the proving grounds in Europe and around the world. An Automotive Research Development Centre will be established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with full testing facilities that can be used by other vehicle manufacturers.”

To enhance the engineering and manufacturing skill base in Saudi Arabia, Lotus and PROTON will be providing training in all aspects of automotive engineering to KACST employees utilising facilities at the Lotus headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, as well as PROTON’s facilities in Malaysia.

Photo: Lotus

(Jan 16, 2008)

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